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How to protect your site for users and SEO performance

A long-standing B2B lead generation best practice, the website/landing page form could cause trouble for those who haven’t taken steps to secure their sites.  

Secure, in this case, means using the HTTPS encryption, the protocol that sends data between a browser and a website.

To help protect users from having their personal data hacked, Google started giving preference to secure websites in early 2017.

And in October 2017, the Google Chrome browser began releasing an update that flags all webpages that have forms or require a user to input information with a 'Not Secure' message, which looks like this:

How to protect your site for users and SEO performance

The early release of this Chrome update will only show the 'Not Secure' message once a user starts to fill in the form. In the near future, Google is planning to display the insecure message as soon as the page loads.

Why does this matter?

  • Chrome is the most popular browser, with 47% of the browser market share.
  • A recent consumer survey from HubSpot showed 82% of respondents would leave a site that is not secure. This is a big transition from several years ago when secure sites were predominantly reserved for ecommerce. Now, Google wants to protect the user on all webpages, even if they're not buying anything on your site.
  • Google has given secure sites an organic ranking boost since 2014, prompting many to add an SSL certificate to their site to make it secure, adding the “S” to HTTP. Since then, many websites have switched to HTTPS, and sites without an SSL certificate will notice a decline in SEO performance due to ranking decreases.
  • If a user enters information into a form on your insecure website(s), that data could be hacked.
  • Having an insecure website can lead to a decrease in users’ trust, lost ranking opportunities in organic search and even potential lost leads or sales.

What should you do if your website is not secure?

The first step to securing your site is adding a digital certificate to your web server. You should be able to work with your IT team or web hosting provider to do this. Once your site has the SSL security certificate added, you may also need to update any analytics tracking, Google Search console or third-party implementations, like CRM or marketing automation (MA) software.

Google continues to make frequent updates to its ranking algorithms and browser. While some are minor, other changes like this security update can critically affect your website’s performance.

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